Video Glut: More Than 817,000 Titles Now Available on U.S. Streaming and TV Services, up 26% in Just Over Two Years, Nielsen Says

Nielsen - Video Glut Streaming TV Titles 2022
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Feeling swamped by the deluge of TV and streaming choices available at the touch of a button? You’re not alone.

The sheer tonnage of video programming available to American viewers today is staggering — and it’s only going to keep growing. As of February 2022, there were more than 817,000 unique program titles across traditional TV and streaming services in the U.S., with many of those titles featuring hundreds of individual episodes or chapters, according to Nielsen’s Gracenote entertainment metadata subsidiary. That’s up 26% from December 2019, when there were just over 646,000 unique program titles.

With the massive amount of content, close to half of U.S. viewers — 46% — said they feel “overwhelmed” by the growing number of services and platforms, which make it harder to find the content they’re looking for, per Nielsen’s inaugural “The State of Play” report released Wednesday.

Of those surveyed by Nielsen, 64% of respondents said they wished there was a “bundled video streaming service” that would let them choose which video streaming services they wanted.

That said, 93% of Americans expect to either increase their paid streaming services or make no changes to their existing plans over the next year. According to Nielsen’s February survey, 35% of Americans now pay for four or more streaming services, compared with 11% who did so in 2019.

And more than half of U.S. viewers (53%) now pay at least $20 per month for video streaming services, Nielsen’s study found.

Overall, Americans increased their average weekly time streaming video by 18%, with a year-over-year increase from 143.2 billion minutes in February 2021 to 169.4 billion minutes in February 2022.

In February 2022, content from streaming platforms accounted for nearly 29% of consumers’ total time with TV, ahead of broadcast programming (26.4%) for the fourth straight month, according to Nielsen’s The Gauge, a monthly snapshot of total TV and streaming usage. In total, Americans watched almost 15 million years’ worth of streaming video content in 2021, per the measurement company’s estimates.

The report “really underscores the fact that we’ve entered the next phase of streaming, based on the trends we have been detailing about streaming over the past few years,” said Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen. “We’ve moved from infancy into adolescence, and all the complexities that one would expect at that point.”

The 2022 “State of Play” report (downloadable at this link) incorporates Nielsen TV measurement and streaming data, as well as data from its Gracenote unit and the results of an online custom survey of U.S. video streamers.